Video Blogging/Vlogging: From Bootstrapped to Pro
Video blogging is a fantastic way to build a rabid following of loyal followers. Video blogging allows your audience to really get to know you. Text only allows a certain portion of your personality to flow through. Video blogging, however, allows you to build a direct, one on one human connection with your viewers.
So how do you get started?
Bootstrapping for Zero Dollars
Say you have a very limited budget. How can you start video blogging today? Simple. Get started on your iPhone or comparable Android device.
The 5 to 8 Megapixel camera on today’s smartphones is more than enough for decent quality web video. The microphones on these devices aren’t great, but they’re good enough for getting started.
Film yourself in a quiet room with decent lighting. Spend some time on Google researching lighting to get things right. Create a casual atmosphere and don’t try to make it look like you spent $100,000 on production. It’s okay to be scrappy. People like it.
Building an Audience
Building an audience from scratch takes consistency, time and dedication.
First, to be effective in video blogging you need to have a consistent blogging schedule. SEOMoz does a video every Friday and calls it “Video Friday.” Gary Vaynerchuk built his wine business by doing a video every weekday. It doesn’t matter how often you do it, what matters is the consistency. People need to be able to come to depend on getting your video.
Next, start building relationships with your loyal followers. Respond to replies and mentions on Twitter and respond to any messages they send you. Remember they’re real people, not just followers on a screen.
Finally, give it time. A real audience isn’t built in a couple months. It takes six months to a year before you’ll see significant traction.
Getting Into iTunes
If you’re publishing a video regularly, it’s a good idea to try and get either the video or just the audio of the program in iTunes as a podcast.
As your audience grows, your podcast ranking will also rise. This will expose your content to a lot more people who wouldn’t have heard about you otherwise.
As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to offer an MP3 (audio) and an MP4 (iPhone compatible video) version of your videos as well. This allows people to consume your videos on their mobile devices.
Going Pro: The Next Step
Finally, once you’re bringing in some revenue, it’s time to upgrade your setup to a real professional video blogger’s setup.
Invest in a quality set of microphones. Opt for either a lapel mic or an over the ear mic that can really pick up good audio.
Invest in a quality camera or two. Having multiple angles can add dynamism to your videos.
Invest in a high-quality intro to your videos. It might just be a 5-second intro, but it really helps make an impact.
Don’t let the lack of expensive video equipment stop you from getting started. Launch with just your smartphone if you need to. Then gradually upgrade your technology. What’s important isn’t your gear, but the community you build early on.
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